The purpose of this study is to summarize the Navy's trillion dollar plan to turn the Olympic Peninsula into an Electronic Warfare Zone and to provide scientific evidence that two endangered species, Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets, would be driven to extinction as a result of this plan. This study is divided into six parts. First, we will review the Navy's plan to turn the Olympic Mountains into an Electronic Warfare Zone. Second, we will summarize unanswered questions about how this plan might harm humans and wildlife. Third, we will provide a historical summary of past attempts to save the spotted owls. Fourth, we will provide an analysis of current spotted owl population in the Olympic Mountains and evidence of how the war zone plan will destroy this population – which is already on the edge of extinction. If the Navy is allowed to turn the most important remaining habitat of spotted owls into an Electronic Warfare Zone, this will be the final nail in the coffin for one of nature's most important indicator species. Fifth, we will explain how toxic noise and electromagnetic radiation also harms humans. Sixth, we will review what you can do to stop the Navy from destroying the Olympic Peninsula and one of our nation's last remaining populations of Spotted Owls.
Part One: The Navy Plan to Turn the Olympic Mountains into a War Zone
The Olympic Peninsula, on the Northwest Corner of Washington State, is critical habitat for two endangered species, spotted owls and marbled murrelets, both of whom rely on rare Old Growth forests for their nests. Numerous environmental organizations have rated the Olympic rain forest as being one of the most important environmental ecosystems in the entire world. More than three million people visit the Olympic Peninsula every year providing more than $600 million in economic activity and tourism related jobs to the local community. This will all be gone once word gets out about the Navy's new war zone.
Recently, the US Navy submitted an application to the US Forest Service for a Special Use Permit to allow 3 large trucks - fitted with special electromagnetic wave transmitters - to be driven on Forest Service roads in the Olympic National Forest. The Navy refused to file an Environmental Impact Statement on this project claiming that these thousands of simulated war games will have no effect on people or wildlife. The public has been given until November 28 2014 to submit written public comments on this project. Here is the link if you would like to let the Navy know what you think of their plan to turn the Olympic Peninsula into a war zone. Thousands have already submitted comments opposing this project.
On August 28, 2014, the Navy issued a 7 page Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) claimed that allowing these three trucks to use Forest Service roads will have “no significant impact” and therefore this project does not require the Navy to submit a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
In September 2014, the Navy issued their final 228 page Environmental Assessment (EA) on this project. Their assessment is available at the following link.
Sadly, this project is not merely about having three trucks on Forest Service roads. Instead, the three trucks are an essential component in turning the Olympic Peninsula into an Electronic Warfare Range. The project includes building a new stationary electronic warfare transmitter – emitting the equivalent of a thousand microwave ovens of radiation - and three mobile electronic warfare transmitters – each emitting the equivalent of 100 microwave ovens - to be attacked by more than 100 “Growler” military jets – each emitting thousands of microwave ovens worth of radiation.
If the Forest Service grants the Special Use Permit, the three mobile transmitters would be driven up logging roads in the Olympic Mountains every morning at about 5 am to special staging areas – many of which are inside of or next to Old Growth Forests and critical habitat for spotted owls and marbled murrelets. These Old Growth forests have been rated as among the quietest places on earth at only 10 to 20 decibels. According to a US Fish and Wildlife Services Field Manual, even a normal human conversation of 60 decibels could disturb and harm this wildlife as every increase of 10 decibels is a doubling of the sound. So even a human whisper is twice as loud as a typical Old Growth Forest – and a normal conversation is 32 times louder than the Hoh Rain Forest.
As the mobile transmitters are being driven up to the Old Growth forests and turned on using special “quiet generators” rated at “only 50 decibels” - but still 16 times louder than the Hoh Rain Forest, the first squadron of 4 to 8 Growler Jets will take off from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station north of Seattle Washington. At about 6 am, these military jets will be roaring past Port Townsend and Port Angeles on their way to the Pacific Ocean – at a noise of up to 150 decibels – enough to cause permanent hearing damage.
The Growler jets are twice as loud as a normal military jet and 500 times louder than a normal conversation and 15,000 times louder than the Hoh Rain Forest. Once at the Pacific ocean, the squadron of jets would bank sharply left to begin their attack on the Olympic Mountains. First, they would locate and (pretend) destroy the fixed transmitter at Pacific Beach. Then mere seconds later, flying at a speed of up to 1,000 miles per hour (almost 20 miles every minute), they would use electromagnetic radiation to locate and (pretend) destroy the three mobile transmitters located in or next to the Old Growth forests – flying over the forest at an elevation as low as 1,200 feet over the surface – a mere 900 feet over the tops of the highest trees.
To the spotted owls, sleeping in their nests near the tops of 300 foot tall one thousand year old tall trees, the toxic sound will begin as a low rumble approaching from the west. Within twenty seconds, the rumble will rise to a deafening roar of a million canons all going off at the same time. The roar will continue for twenty horrifying seconds of Hell on Earth as the defenseless owls lack not only protective ear muffs – but lack even human hands to put over their acutely sensitive ears. Twenty seconds later, one minute after the torture began, the roar will go back to a rumble and then end.
But for the defenseless owls, the relief will only be temporary. Just as the first squadron lands back at the Naval base, another squadron of 4 to 8 more Growler jets will be taking off. At 7 am, they will begin their assault on the mobile transmitters and on the spotted owls – subjecting the owls to yet another minute of Hell on Earth. Then at 8 am, another attack by another squadron. At 9 am, another attack. At 10 am, another attack. At 11 am, another attack. And again and again and again and again and again – up to 11 sudden sneak attacks over a 16 hour period.
If any owls manage to survive this first horrifying day with their ears and nerves intact, the war against the owls will be repeated the following morning– and repeated again every morning and throughout every day up to 5 days a week and 52 weeks and 260 days per year – for the next 10 to 20 years!
But if this insanity were not bad enough, on every attack, not only will the owls be subjected to permanent hearing damage, so will another bird on the Endangered Species List – the Marbled Murrelet. And so will more than one billion birds who fly up and down the “Pacific Flyway” every year. And so will hundreds of other species of animals who now make the western slopes of the Olympic Mountains their home. Among those species are the Quinault Native Americans and the loyal American citizens who live in Forks Washington. They will also be attacked with ear splitting explosions once an hour every hour beginning at dawn and going throughout the day for up to 260 days per year.
The Navy says not to worry. The owls and people will barely hear the Growler jets. This is also what the Navy told the loyal Americans living at Coupeville Washington which has been in the flight path of these Growler jets since 2008. Below is a link to a series of three minute videos showing the effect of growler jets flying over the children and animals of Coupeville Washington. One parent recorded the noise at 112 decibels. Keep in mind that anything over 84 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage in humans.
In addition, questions have been raised about the long term health effects of the electromagnetic pulse radiation produced by the Growler aircraft and the Mobile Transmitters. It is believed that this radiation can lead to cancer in humans and wildlife.
$600 million in Tourism Losses to Save $5 million in Fuel?
The Navy already conducts electronic warfare games at an electronic warfare range at the Mount Home Air Force base in Idaho. However, the Navy wants to add an electronic warfare range on the western slopes of the Olympic Peninsula in order to save about $5 million in fuel costs. The Navy apparently has failed to consider the fact that turning the Olympic Peninsula into a war zone would cost local residents $300 million in lost economic activity and jobs due to the loss of tourism. The Olympic Peninsula already has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. If it is turned into a war zone, it would likely destroy their community.
As a consequence, the Forest Service has already received more than 2,500 public comments on the proposal. Over 90% of these comments have opposed the project. Although required by law to hold an official public hearing on the project, and to manage the forest for the benefit of the public instead of the benefit of special groups like the Navy, Forest Service officials claimed that they do not need to consider the opinion of the public and that they do not have the time or money to hold a public hearing. The 2,500 public comments already submitted can be read at this link.
Killing the Canary in the Coal Mine
A primary concern about the Navy Electronic Warfare plan is the potential to destroy endangered species such as spotted owls and marbled murrelets. These birds are “indicator species” of the health of our entire environment. They are the “canaries in the coal mine.” According to E.O. Wilson, Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology, Harvard University: “The fundamental truth is that biodiversity matters profoundly to human health in almost every conceivable way. The roles that individual species, and the ecosystems they make up, play in providing food, fuel and unique medicinal compounds; air, water and soil purification services; and natural regulation of infectious disease, to name a few, are critical to our health and survival. The loss of species as a result of human activity and the degradation of ecosystems ongoing around the world lowers the quality of the planet’s natural resources and destabilizes the physical environment... Changes to the environment—be they from pollution, deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, or other causes—ultimately affect the living world. Once we lose a gene, species, or an ecosystem, it is gone forever.”
Below is a link to a ten minute YouTube video with a child explaining the importance of saving our spotted owls.
As a sharp contrast to the peace and quiet of an Old Growth forest, we will next look at the monstrous noise levels of the Growler Jets – among the loudest planes ever made!
Why are these new F18 Growler Jets so Loud?
For more than 30 years, from 1975 to 2008, the Navy used an electronic jamming plane called the EA-6B Prowler which flew at speeds of up to 600 miles per hour.
This normal looking Prowler jets were a little slow for modern jet warfare. Prowlers were also considered very noisy at up to 140 decibels. Huge numbers of troops had their ear drums blown out by these noisy military jets and Congress demanded a quieter plane. So in 2003, the Navy issued a contract to Boeing to build a much faster and much quieter electronic warfare jet. In 2005, the Navy issued an environmental impact statement promising local residents that the new Growler jets would be much quieter than the old Prowler jets. Folks were thrilled that the old Prowlers were finally being replaced.
The first of these new F18 Growler jets was delivered to the Navy at Whidbey Island, Washington on April 9 2007. Almost immediately local residents and ground crews at Whidbey Island began to complain that the new Growlers instead of being quieter than the old Prowlers were actually MUCH louder. This led to an investigation by a Navy Auditor beginning in January 2008. The Navy Auditor hired a bunch of specialists to conduct detailed tests. He confirmed that the new jets were in fact much louder than the old jets.
On page 7 of his 35 page report, the Navy Auditor wrote:
Summary of Audit Results and Conclusions... The EA-18G (Growler) emits a maximum of 150 decibels, which is well above the noise level considered hazardous to hearing (greater than 84 decibels)...This is contrary to the system safety design order of precedence specified in the MIL-STD-882D. Test results indicate that new technology hearing protection devices will reduce noise exposure on the flight deck by at least 43 decibels; however, this is still above the level considered hazardous to hearing. A professional audiologist further validated that a hazard will continue to exist even with the improved hearing protection.”
The Navy Auditor found that the development of the F18 Growler violated two Navy noise safety regulations. Part of the problem was that increasing the speed from 600 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour required a bigger and louder engine. Another problem was the shape of the new plane – which included four pods under the wings – increased the turbulence and therefore the noise. These factors and others caused the new Growlers to be twice as loud – or about 10 decibels louder – than the older Prowlers.
Despite this fact, in a 2010 report to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Navy told the researchers that the new Growlers had almost the same volume as the old Prowlers.
On page 58 of this 2010 report, the authors state:
“The Navy reported sound transmission information for FA-18 and EA-6b jet aircraft commonly used in training missions (US Navy 2009a, p. 9, 10). At a horizontal distance of 4 nm (4.6 mi) from source, the received SPLs for these aircraft varied according to engine demand (descending, cruising, or climbing) with the reported values ranging from 39 dBA to 63 dBA for the FA-18 and 42 dBA to 62 dBA for the EA-6b.”
62 decibels is the sound of a normal human conversation. Even at 5 miles from the source, this seems extremely low for either of these noisy military jet. But the real question is why the Navy did not report the decibel rating for a plane flying within 1200 feet of the surface – since this is what they proposed to do. Also, why didn't the US Fish and Wildlife Service demand this information since it would be critical to determining whether these jets might cause serious harm to the survival of endangered species?
Instead of conducing their own independent research as required by the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service merely believed the Navy. Based upon the Navy's fraudulent claim, the Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that the overflights would peak at 86 decibels.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service then used a lab study on birds to conclude that spotted owls and marbled murrelets could handle up to 92 decibels without suffering permanent hearing damage. Because the estimated peak of 86 decibels was less than 92 decibels, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a 2010 Biological Opinion concluding that the new Growler jets would not harm the spotted owls and marbled murrelets in the Olympic Mountains during Navy War Games. What is most absurd about the Fish and Wildlife Service claiming that owls can handle 92 decibels is that in their latest field manual, the Fish and Wildlife Service warns that any noise disturbance above the ambient level (of 20 decibels) could disturb the owls and “shall be postponed.” PROTOCOL FOR SURVEYING PROPOSED MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES THAT MAY IMPACT NORTHERN SPOTTED OWLS Endorsed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , February 2, 2011, Revised January 9, 2012
Obviously 92 decibels is 130 times louder than the ambient level of an Old Growth Forest!
The Navy then used the 2010 Fish and Wildlife Report in August 2014 to conclude that the expansion of their war games from 45 planes to more than 100 planes would have no effect on the spotted owls and marbled murrelets and thus neither the Navy or the Forest Service or the US Fish and Wildlife Service needed to conduct any studies or submit an Environmental Impact Statement. In fact, the Navy and the Forest Service concluded that they did not even need to hold an official public hearing (which is normally required by NEPA – the National Environmental Policy Act!
What does the Navy Electronic Warfare Program Really Cost?
We will next attempt to estimate the total cost of the Navy's electronic warfare plan. This does not include the cost of the loss of tourism to the Olympic Peninsula. It is merely the hard cost of the planes and the rest of the new military hardware the Navy is developing to fight their new electronic wars. The Navy recently asked Congress for $2.1 billion to buy an additional 22 Growler jets. From this one might assume that the Growlers cost $100 million each. Every 10 jets cost one billion. So the current inventory of about 100 Growler jets costs $10 billion. But the complete plan is to eventually have 200 Growler jets for a cost of $20 billion.
The Growlers will be supplemented by a new electronic warfare jet called the F 35 Lightning. These new jets, the most expensive in history, are initially expected to cost about $400 billion with total eventual cost over one trillion dollars. The Navy plans to purchase 230 F 35 C jets which added to the potential 200 Growlers would make the entire attack force at Whidbey Island more than 400 planes – four times the current number.
The total number of these F35 Stealth jets is expected to exceed 2,500 – with most of them going to the Air Force.
“The F-18G, known as the Growler, emits a broader set of electronic warfare frequencies than does the F-35, Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, told reporters after today’s House Armed Services air and land force subcommittee hearing. The two planes flying together are a much more effective strike package, according to Navy analysis, than either one flying on its own... the Growler generates enough power to blanket the area ahead of the F-35s so they can act in a complementary fashion.”
Hundreds of both of these planes would be stationed at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and operate in tandem from the Navy's fleet of Nimitz class aircraft carriers. The F 18G has two powerful continuous wave transmitters that emit electromagnetic beams towards a potential threat. In 2020, an even more powerful electromagnetic warfare system will be added to the jets. In May 2014, Boeing delivered the 100th Growler to the Navy with a committed for 35 more (4 per year) over the next 10 years. But the eventual plan is for 200 Growlers and 230 F 35 C stealth electromagnetic warfare jets.
These electronic warfare jets also require a nuclear aircraft carrier – which are the largest warships ever built – each with a crew of 6,000. Each ship is longer than three football fields. Each of these aircraft carriers can accommodate up to 100 jets. Each of these ships cost about $10 billion. The Navy has 10 of these nuclear powered aircraft carriers with three more on the way. So the total cost for Air Craft Carriers is about $130 billion.
But then we need a bunch of ships to protect the Air Craft Carriers. This leads to our huge fleet of brand new Nuclear Powered Submarines. We already have 10 of these with 30 more on the way. The lifetime cost for these is $10 billion each. Multiple this times 40 new subs and we have $400 billion just for new subs. This does not include the cost of the 6,000 person crew for the Air Craft Carriers or the cost of the crews at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. It also does not include the cost of all of the missiles needed to actually fight the wars.
One can only imagine the few remaining spotted owls on the western slope of the Olympic Mountains – owls that evolved to live in one of the quietest environments on earth - being suddenly attacked by 200 to 400 electronic warfare jets up to 11 times a day or more than 1000 times a year. The shear volume of noise is certain to be deafening. Should the owls and residents of the Olympic Peninsula somehow survive these hourly attacks, they would still have to suffer the long term and possibly deadly harm inflicted by tens of thousands of electromagnetic pulse beams raining down on them like a toxic invisible hailstorm from the sky.
The Stationary Electronic Warfare Transmitter... Also known as the Death Star
So much for hiking along Pacific Beach. The tower would be about 66 feet high and 40 feet wide. The tower would be capable of generating an electromagnetic wave at frequencies ranging from 2 to 18 gigahertz (GHz) and it would be able to emit up to 64 simultaneous signals while transmitting in pulses or a continuous wave. The Navy plans to have the Electronic Warfare project running by September 2015. The Navy still needs permission from the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources for use of roads in remote areas where the mobile units would travel and set up.
The Mobile Electronic Warfare Transmitters... Bringing death and destruction to 15 sites in the Olympic Mountains
Gee. Why did the Navy submit a drawing of their mobile transmitters when the Navy has been using actual mobile transmitters since 2012? If you are thinking that the Navy lied on their Environmental Assessment that they submitted to the Forest Service in order to deceive the public about the appearance of their mobile transmitters, you would be right!
In fact, the real name for the Navy mobile transmitters are Joint Threat Emitters - or JTEs - which according to Northrop Grumman, the corporation who makes them are “the most sophisticated threats found on the modern Electronic Warfare battlefield...JTE offers "true" war fighter training and provides a modern, reactive battle space war environment designed to help train military personnel to identify and effectively counter enemy missile or artillery threats. A multi-threat, high-fidelity simulator with realistic effective radiated power levels, the JTE simulates both single- and double-digit surface-to-air and anti-aircraft artillery radar systems.”
Put in plain English, these mobile transmitters are among the most powerful radar stations ever made. So what do these mobile radar stations look like? Here is the picture right out of Northrop Grumman's latest weapons catalog:
Of course a radar station this powerful also requires an extremely loud and powerful generator called a “Remote Power Unit.”. Keep in mind that the Navy wants to run three of these monsters at the same time up to 11 hours per day! Here is what the radar station looks like when hooked up to its Remote Power Unit generator:
Imagine running into one of these war machines during your next family camping trip! The Navy says that you will be okay as long as you are not near one of these war machines for more than 15 minutes. No worries there. The moment I see one of these things, I am packing up the kids and heading the other direction as fast as I can!
But this is only a small part of the Navy's New War Plan Against the People and Wildlife of the United States
As of December 2014, the Navy will also begin conducting sonar and explosive underwater war games in the waters off Indian Island near Port Townsend, in the Strait of Juan De Fuca, and in the 2,408 square mile Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary, where the Navy says it is exempt from prohibitions. At the same time, the Navy is developing plans for two Carrier Strike Groups to train in the Gulf of Alaska using new extremely loud weapons systems and sinking two ships per year, in exercises that the Navy admits will kill or injure 182,000 whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, seals, sea otters and other marine mammals in one five- year period. This at a time when salmon and Orca whales have been put on the endangered species list and cities like Seattle are spending millions of dollars trying to save them – the Navy is spending billions of dollars trying to kill them! Navy lethal underwater sonar weapons have already been found to be a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Why does the Navy continue to break federal laws?
Star Wars Coming to the Olympic Mountains
Meanwhile, on Friday, November 14 2014, War Department Secretary, Chuck Hagel, announced a new program called the Defense Innovative Initiative. The goal of this program is to create a new generation of high tech weapons. Hagel said, “We are entering an era where American dominance in key war fighting domains is eroding and we must find new and creative ways to sustain, and in some areas expand, our advantages.”
One of the new creative ways appears to be to spend more than one trillion dollars building a fleet of hundreds of new electronic warfare jets. The purpose of these jets is about more than attacking the people and wildlife on the Olympic Peninsula. It is so huge that it is not merely about protecting the United States. Instead, it appears to be part of a massive military buildup by those who are seeking global conquest and domination. Maybe this is why our military has been building hundreds of air bases around the world in recent years.
What can we do to stop this insane plan?
In addition to submitting public comments with the Forest Service, and visiting our website to learn more about this plan, you can sign our petition to Congress asking them to ban military jet flights over the Olympic Peninsula and all other critical habitat for endangered species. Here is a copy of our petition as well as a link you click on to sign it:
Resolution to End Military Jet Destruction of Endangered Species Habitat
Whereas the Endangered Species Act, passed by Congress in 1973, is widely supported by more than 80% of the American people,
Whereas endangered species such as the spotted owls and marbled murrelets require quiet undisturbed habitat typically found in Old Growth forests for nesting and foraging and
Whereas a normal Old Growth forest has a sound level of 20 decibels - compared to a human whisper of 30 decibels and
Whereas the Old Growth forests in some National Parks and National Forests, including Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest, have been protected as critical habitat essential for the survival of these endangered species,
Whereas critical habitat for endangered species includes not only the landscape (ground, trees and streams) but also the airscape (air and noise levels),
Whereas background noise in excessive of 60 decibels, the sound of a normal human conversation, has been shown to decrease reproductive success of spotted owls and is therefore harmful to the survival of spotted owls,
Whereas military jets such as the Navy F18 Growler emit noise up to 150 decibels, the sound of continuous rifle blasts, capable of causing permanent hearing damage and
Whereas an increase of 10 decibels is a doubling of the noise level and therefore 150 decibels is more than 500 times louder than 60 decibels and more than 8,000 times louder than 20 decibels - the normal background sound of an Old Growth forest – and
Whereas the Navy has proposed turning the western slopes of the Olympic Mountains into an Electronic Warfare Training Zone wherein four or more F18 Growler jets would attack 3 mobile transmitters per operation 11 times per day and 260 days per year for a total of 2,900 operations per year involving at least 11,600 military jets per year and
Whereas allowing more than 11,000 extremely loud military jets per year to fly near or over critical habitat for spotted owls is likely to lead to their extinction,
THEREFORE we ask the Washington State legislature, the US Congress and the President of the United States to pass legislation prohibiting military jets from flying near or over any designated critical habitat for the northern spotted owls and marbled murrelets.
Finally, you can share this article with your friends and neighbors so that more people can become aware of this problem. For links to all of these studies, visit the Home page of our website: http://washingtonenvironmentalprotectioncoalition.org/
This concludes our summary of the Navy plan to turn the Olympic Mountains into a war zone. In the next section, we will describe a series of unanswered questions about how this war plan might harm humans and wildlife. We will then review the history of attempts to save our spotted owls. We will then assess the current spotted owl population in the Olympic Mountains – showing that is on the brink of extinction even before this new plan by the Navy to destroy them completely. We will then conclude with a series of ideas on what each of us can do individually and jointly to stop this monstrous assault on the Olympic Peninsula.